Tuesday, August 2, 2016

JT's Grommet Island Beach Park & Playground For EveryBODY is the first of its kind in America.  The idea of a handicap-accessible boardwalk was born when Josh Thompson's family wanted to go to the beach, but he had to stay behind because of the difficulty of getting his wheelchair to the beach, across the sand and down to the surf. They wondered how many more people never got to the beach for the same reason. With this one thought... the park idea was born when Bruce Thompson, Josh's dad, took the idea of a 100% handicap accessible oceanfront park to the City of Virginia Beach. We're happy to say it was embraced with great enthusiasm!  The land was allocated, plans were submitted to the City of Virginia Beach, and the park's Grand Opening took place May 22, 2010.

From Adversity...
to the Birth of an Idea!
Nobody enjoyed the beach more than Josh Thompson. He was an avid surfer. He loved taking his family to the beach. He grew up on the beach and thought he'd be riding his board for years to come. But in late 2006, Josh was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. Josh had to turn his attention from riding waves to fighting ALS, a battle few so young have to face. The fight had been one of frustration. Frustration with barriers to drug access, with unsuccessful experimental treatments and the lack of a cure. But rather than let their frustration turn to bitterness, Josh and his family converted their frustration to a massive mobilization for the search for treatments and eventually a cure for ALS by raising money through the annual JT Walk & Beach Party.

JT Walk & Beach Party - October 23, 2016

Over the last 8 years, more than 30,000 people have gathered at the Virginia Beach oceanfront to participate in what is now known as the JT Walk & Beach Party. This year, come on out on October 23rd for the largest concert and beach party on the east coast featuring the award winning band... TRAIN!

In 2008, the Virginia Gentlemen partnered with ALSA in this local Walk previously held at The Botanical Gardens, but was moved to the oceanfront boardwalk to accommodate the expected attendance. What started out as one team in the Hampton Roads ALS Walk has now become the National ALS Foundation's largest single day walk and fundraiser, raising millions of dollars for stem cell research for neurological disorders, ALS patient services, and the creation of JT's Grommet Island Beach Park & Playground for EveryBODY.  

The Walk has also contributed to other community projects such as the "Grombulance" kid-friendly medical transport for Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters and the early development of JT's Camp Grom. Hope to see you there!

Beach Lodging
Sandbridge is a peaceful family-friendly beach community just minutes from all the fun at Grommet Island Park and the JT Walk & Beach Party in October. Need lodging? Simply give our rental agents a call today at 877-422-2200 or check us out at www.siebert-realty.com. 

Have a family member who is disabled or needs a wheelchair to access all the fun on the beach? We offer special "Beach Wheelchairs" with fat tires that "Go in the Sand" available through Moneysworth Rental Equipment.  Give us a call today and make your dream vacation a reality!  

Siebert Realty - "The Beach People"
Vacation Beach Home and Condo Rentals
Sandbridge Beach, Virginia Beach, VA
877-422-2200 / 757-426-6200

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